Moody's reviews Penn State for downgrade

@CNNMoney November 11, 2011: 7:03 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Moody's Investors Service is reviewing the risk to Penn State's reputation and finances in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the university.

In coming months, the credit rating agency will evaluate whether the university should be downgraded. Penn State carries the second highest credit rating, reflecting very strong student demand and a strong national academic brand.

The university has about $1 billion in rated debt.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General earlier this week filed criminal charges against a former assistant football coach, as well as perjury and other charges against two senior university officials. The subsequent firestorm cost famed head football coach Joe Paterno and the university president their jobs.

The scandal could also cost the university millions of dollars, particularly in merchandise sales and sponsorships.

Its revenue of $72.7 million from football last season was the fifth highest of any college program in the country, according to a CNNMoney analysis of figures reported by each school to the Department of Education.

Penn State: $53 million in profits at stake

And Penn State football's profit of $53.2 million was second only to the University of Texas' total of $71.2 million.

The full impact of the increased risks will unfold over years, Moody's said. It will evaluate the risks from potential lawsuits, settlements, weaker student demand, management changes and fundraising challenges.

Penn State is Pennsylvania's flagship public university with more than 80,000 students and operating revenues of $4.6 billion.

CNNMoney senior writer Chris Isidore contributed to this story.  To top of page

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